By Ben Black, Managing Director, My Family Care

It’s becoming more and more common to hear the words ‘marketing’ and ‘employer brand’ being thrown around HR and recruitment teams. Against a tough economic backdrop employers have looked long and hard at their cost base with many workforces being trimmed to the minimum. If most FD’s had their way employers would be left with a very few, incredibly talented and equally overworked employees!

These employees are facing increased workloads; shrinking budgets; and more demanding targets to keep the business productive and profitable. In this kind of cost-cutting and highly pressured environment you can understand why employers are looking for ways to attract, retain and engage the best talent.

The priority for HR professionals is to work out just what employees want and need to remain loyal and engaged. The good news is that financial incentives and higher salaries are often not top of the employees’ wish lists. Many companies have introduced talent management strategies, well-being initiatives and family friendly employee benefit packages to appear more attractive to applicants. Employers are going that extra mile by demonstrating a holistic approach to human resources because they understand that by supporting work-life balance it will increase staff loyalty, staff engagement and thus productivity and profitability in the long term.

Employers are also taking advantage of the competitive edge that marketing and branding can provide. Marketing has been described as the ability to promote the right product or offering to the right person at the right time. Recruitment teams face the same issues: they need to have the right jobs for the right people at the right time.

Employer brand is a term many HR professionals have come to hear more regularly. Awards such as The Times 100 Best Companies and Top Employers for Working Families give an opportunity for organisations to build their employer brands, promote their initiatives and be recognised for the extra benefits they provide. It is no different to the “hidden powers” that convince us that Coke is better than Pepsi. Employer culture, values and work ethics will impact the type of talent an organisation attracts and retains. It will also affect the level of motivation, engagement and productivity.

Dream job - next exit

In today’s ageing society and with women accounting for 46% of the UK workforce, the best talent available now more commonly comes with family care commitments. Flexible working has been a major catalyst in improving diversity and talent management strategies. It has grown dramatically over the decade, allowing more working parents to return to work and deliver excellent results.

In the fight to keep the best working parents and carers, employers are offering childcare or maternity support. Working parents and carer strategies are usually a mix of backup childcare, childcare vouchers, maternity consultancy, maternity coaching, training workshops and employee assistance programmes. These schemes have seen return to work rates rocket and childcare related absenteeism plummet.

Women are having children later and thus holding more senior positions when leaving for and returning from maternity. 60% of these women say that childcare is their biggest concern when returning to work. Working parent strategies have seen smoother transitions from working woman to working mum, making the whole process less stressful for the employee and less disruptive for the employer.

However it’s not just childcare that employees are faced with balancing. Many are juggling care commitments of adult dependents, or elderly parents. The minister in charge at the DWP, MP Jonathan Shaw, is fond of quoting that within 25 years the number of people over 100 will quadruple. Medical advancements have meant the sandwich generation is growing at an alarming rate. Some employers now offer backup eldercare/ dependent care or include eldercare support as past of an EAP.

By Ben Black, Managing Director, My Family Care.
To get in touch, visit, or call Ben Black on +44 (0) 207 384 4979.